2017 IFPA Year in Review

I had a little extra time on my hands over winter break and put together a few plots summarizing the year in competitive pinball for 2017. Obviously 2017 hasn’t yet concluded, and these numbers will surely change by years end. I will try and update if I have the time. Thanks to the IFPA for making the data available via their API!

Based on these figures, you can see that the overall number of events and players has grown year over year, and this trend continued throughout 2017. However, the overall number of new, unrated players has stagnated a bit since 2015. While it would be nice to see more new players entering the sport, I’d say it was another very successful year for the IFPA and competitive pinball in general. It will be interesting to see if these trends continue in 2018, or if they are at all affected at all by the forthcoming dollar fee. I plan on following up one year from now with the numbers!


thank you so much for this data!!!

would there be any way to reasonably determine how many players have played for more than one year?
or the average number of events?

for example, how many of 2016s unique players also played in 2017? how many players per year played in only one event? less than five events?

how many new players from 2014 are still active? etc…

thanks again!!!

Sure thing!

Looking at only 2010 and on, 34.5% of players have played in more than one year.

Averages can be a bit misleading in this dataset because there are extreme examples that shift the estimate up. I prefer medians. Nevertheless, here are both:

Here are frequency histograms for each year.

As you can see, not exactly a rosy picture. Most players are one and done, and “less than five” covers most everyone else.

See shep’s post below.


Will always upvote pinball graphs. Cool stuff!

I think we’ve gotten a healthy dose of new people, but it’s really retention rate that is metric I focus on (https://www.ifpapinball.com/stats/?stat_id=4)

One thing I’ll need to add is a stat “really new” players, as I suspect some of the 19k players who players that played this year may not have played in 2016, but did in other years.



The details of the retention rate, compared to the retention rates @spraynard cited, don’t seem to match. [update: Shep’s are correct, the previous numbers cited by @spraynard were removed; I’m glad to see the higher rate was the right one!]

You’re right, the retention rates are the biggest issue. New players are great, but if they don’t stick around then there’s no point.

I assume the difference is totally based on whether suppressed players are included in that calculation or not :wink:

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That’s because mine are wrong, ha. Good catch. Updating my post…

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